My fust idea was to take it to Mrs. Bullet, and then, all of a sudden, the thought struck me: “Suppose he ’adn’t come by it honest?”
I walked up and down agin, thinking. If he ’adn’t, and it was found out, it would blacken his good name and break ’is pore wife’s ’art. That’s the way I looked at it, and for his sake and ’er sake I determined to stick to it.
I felt ’appier in my mind when I ’ad decided on that, and I went round to the Bear’s Head and ’ad a pint. Arter that I ’ad another, and then I come back to the wharf and put the watch and chain on and went on with my work.
Every time I looked down at the chain on my waistcoat it reminded me of Sam. I looked on to the river and thought of ’im going down on the ebb. Then I got a sort o’ lonesome feeling standing on the end of the jetty all alone, and I went back to the Bear’s Head and ’ad another pint.
They didn’t find the body, and I was a’most forgetting about Sam when one evening, as I was sitting on a box waiting to get my breath back to ’ave another go at sweeping, Joe Peel, Sam’s mate, came on to the wharf to see me.
He came in a mysterious sort o’ way that I didn’t like: looking be’ind ’im as though he was afraid of being follered, and speaking in a whisper as if ’e was afraid of being heard. He wasn’t a man I liked, and I was glad that the watch and chain was stowed safe away in my trowsis-pocket.
“I’ve ’ad a shock, watchman,” he ses.
“Oh!” I ses.
“A shock wot’s shook me all up,” he ses, working up a shiver. “I’ve seen something wot I thought people never could see, and wot I never want to see agin. I’ve seen Sam!”
I thought a bit afore I spoke. “Why, I thought he was drownded,” I ses.
“So ’e is,” ses Joe. “When I say I’ve seen ’im I mean that I ’ave seen his ghost!”
He began to shiver agin, all over.
“Wot was it like?” I ses, very calm.
“Like Sam,” he ses, rather short.
“When was it?” I ses.
“Last night at a quarter to twelve,” he ses. “It was standing at my front door waiting for me.”
“And ’ave you been shivering like that ever since?” I ses.
“Worse than that,” ses Joe, looking at me very ’ard. “It’s wearing off now. The ghost gave me a message for you.”
I put my ’and in my trowsis-pocket and looked at ’im. Then I walked very slow, towards the gate.
“It gave me a message for you,” ses Joe, walking beside me. “’We was always pals, Joe,’” it ses, “’you and me, and I want you to pay up fifteen bob for me wot I borrowed off of Bill the watchman. I can’t rest until it’s paid,’ it ses. So here’s the fifteen bob, watchman.”
He put his ’and in ’is pocket and takes out fifteen bob and ’olds it out to me.
“No, no,” I ses. “I can’t take your money, Joe Peel. It wouldn’t be right. Pore Sam is welcome to the fifteen bob—I don’t want it.”