Captain Selover grinned.
“What did you do?” he asked.
“Hazed him to his quarters with a belaying pin.”
“Well, that’s all settled then, isn’t it? What more do you want?”
I stood undecided.
“I can take care of myself,” he went on. “You ought to take care of yourself. Then there’s nothing more to do.”
He mused a moment.
“You have a gun, of course?” he inquired. “I forgot to ask.”
“No,” said I.
“Well, no wonder you feel sort of lost and hopeless! Here, take this, it’ll make a man of you.”
He gave me a Colt’s 45, the barrel of which had been filed down to about two inches of length. It was a most extraordinary weapon, but effective at short range.
“Here’s a few loose cartridges,” said he. “Now go easy. This is no warship, and we ain’t got men to experiment on. Lick ’em with your fists or a pin, if you can; and if you do shoot, for God’s sake just wing ’em a little. They’re awful good lads, but a little restless.”
I took the gun and felt better. With it I could easily handle the members of my own watch, and I did not doubt that with the assistance of Percy Darrow even a surprise would hardly overwhelm us. I did not count on Dr. Schermerhorn. He was quite capable of losing himself in a problem of trajectory after the first shot.
I came on deck one morning at about four bells to find the entire ship’s company afoot. Even the doctor was there. Everybody was gazing eagerly at a narrow, mountainous island lying slate-coloured across the early morning.
We were as yet some twenty miles distant from it, and could make out nothing but its general outline. The latter was sharply defined, rising and falling to a highest point one side of the middle. Over the island, and raggedly clasping its sides, hung a cloud, the only one visible in the sky.
I joined the afterguard.
“You see?” the doctor was exclaiming. “It iss as I haf said. The island iss there. Everything iss as it should be!” He was quite excited.
Percy Darrow, too, was shaken out of his ordinary calm.
“The volcano is active,” was his only comment, but it explained the ragged cloud.